Introduction                      “Russian Electrical Stimulation”:                      Putting This Perspective Into    ...
1970s had a similar influence in studies involving electri-              the context of the experimentation performed by K...
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Corrente russa 02

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Corrente russa 02

  1. 1. Introduction “Russian Electrical Stimulation”: Putting This Perspective Into Perspective E ver since the early introduction in the late 1970s of “Russian currents” to the vernacular of those who use electrotherapeutic modalities, the name Yakov Kots has surfaced as the primary person behind the development of and early experimental work in this area. His original work, however, never surfaced in a full-length, peer-reviewed format and was instead relegated to frag- mented interpretations of early translations of his lectures delivered at Concordia University in 1977. On the following pages, we publish a manuscript by Ward and Shkuratova, who say that they (1) offer a more complete version of the work of Kots, including a review of the original work that was published in the Russian lan- guage, and (2) compare his work with more recent literature and perhaps, there- fore, place that work in a different perspective. What is missing from the article, however, is the designation of Kots as an author, which would lend greater accountability of the work described to a primary source. In fact, one of my first suggestions to the Editor in Chief was to send the manuscript to Dr Kots for review. We were unable to locate Dr Kots, however. This means that we have 2 authors who are claiming to possess an adequate amount of information based on their translations of some of the original work that was conducted by Kots and his colleagues. Determining whether their article ade- quately reflects the work of Kots and colleagues is problematic, as is the case with any translation that is not prepared by the original authors. On the other hand, translating a scientist’s original work from sources not read- ily available is not unusual and often has resulted in very productive dialogue. For example, in the early part of the 20th century, translations of Bernstein’s original work1 led to major changes in thinking and a plethora of subsequent research in the motor control area. I believe that the introduction of Kots’ work in the late[Delitto A. Introduction to “Russian electrical stimulation”: putting this perspective into perspective.” PhysTher. 2002;82:1017–1018.]Anthony Delitto, Editorial Board MemberPhysical Therapy . Volume 82 . Number 10 . October 2002 1017
  2. 2. 1970s had a similar influence in studies involving electri- the context of the experimentation performed by Kots.cal stimulation of muscle and led to a rethinking of how Much of the material cited is not readily available to ourelectrical stimulation was used and with whom it was readership and, even if it were obtainable, would not bemost effective. easily translated. Readers should note that this limitation also applied to the review process and that Physical Ther-Prior to the 1970s, electrical stimulation was primarily apy’s manuscript reviewers, Editorial Board members,viewed as an adjunctive therapy to aid in “muscle re-edu- and Editor in Chief are dependent on the accuracy ofcation” and was predominantly used with people who the authors’ translation as well as their interpretation ofhad neurological disorders. Having graduated from my Kots’ work. Therefore, the article by Ward and Shkura-professional training in the late 1970s, I could not tova is probably best viewed as a Perspective and not as afathom using the available electrical stimulation devices data-based report, and the Journal asks readers toto generate high muscle forces with the intent to remind themselves of this limitation throughout the arti-improve performance. After the 1970s and the introduc- cle. In addition, the type of review given the originaltion of “Russian currents,” however, there was clearly a work of Kots and colleagues is unclear, so we cannot beshift toward using electrical stimulation primarily for sure that their work was subjected to the level of peermuscle performance gains and as an adjunct to strength- review that we all have come to expect in scientific pub-ening regimens predominantly with a population with lishing. I believe that the overall scope of the work donemusculoskeletal conditions. This shift has led to numer- by Kots and his colleagues can perhaps be best appreci-ous investigations into the adjunctive effect of electrical ated despite this limitation, and that opinion is shared bystimulation for muscle performance gains. Many were the Editor in Chief and our reviewer team. We believeintrigued by Kots’ claims of being able to: (1) elicit mus- that despite any limitations, real or anticipated, this arti-cle forces greater than 100% of a maximal volitional cle can provide a focus for thought and discussion.force that were tolerable with regard to perceived painand (2) generate increases in muscle force capability onthe order of 30% in elite-caliber athletes who presumably Referenceswere already functioning at higher-than- normal levels. 1 Bernstein NA. The Co-ordination and Regulation of Movements. New York, NY: Pergamon Press; 1967.The work of Ward and Shkuratova has the attraction ofconsolidating what has been very fragmented material inA Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA, is Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Uni-versity of Pittsburgh, 6035 Forbes Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 (USA) (delitto@pitt.edu).1018 Physical Therapy . Volume 82 . Number 10 . October 2002

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